A cocktail reception at Blueberry Hill for ICE prosecutors was canceled yesterday when a group of St. Louis activists showed up to proclaim that ICE is not welcome in our community.
On June 20th, members of St. Louis Democratic Socialists of America, Socialist Alternative – St. Louis, Missouri Immigrant & Refugee Advocates, and other comrades organized an action to disrupt a networking event with Melissa Castillo–District Chief Counsel of Missouri for Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Kim Burgess–Assistant Chief Counsel, and Alex Goring–Chief Counsel of USCIS.
Castillo and colleagues were expected to arrive at 5:30. Around 6:15, a statement was made that “known protestors” had been spotted in the venue. Rather than face public criticism for their participation in tearing apart immigrant families, Castillo, Burgess, and Goring chose instead to avoid the event.
Though ICE prosecutors refused to engage directly with activists, the action succeeded in making them feel unwelcome and in exposing their unwillingness to take responsibility for the damage they inflict upon our immigrant neighbors by choosing to prosecute them for daring to seek safety and survival.
ICE is not welcome in our city. As proponents of radical democracy, we believe that it is a healthy part of the democratic process to confront those complicit in the horrors of this system, and to tell them directly to their face why we believe their work is harmful. If they are unwilling to handle that criticism from their own neighbors, perhaps they should reconsider whether ICE actions are beneficial to society, and perhaps they should reconsider their own involvement with ICE.
Those who work for ICE, DHS, and CBP should be fearful. They should be confronted in every aspect of their lives. They actively choose to enforce imperialist, racist laws and policies. They have every opportunity to denounce and walk away from this work, and choose not to. They are as guilty as those working in the concentration camps at the border.
Just as we seek to dismantle the mechanisms of capitalism that divide us into classes and separate the workers of the world from the products of their labor, socialists must fight to abolish all institutions that seek to redefine our humanity based on the arbitrary circumstances of birth and geography.
We call for the immediate abolition of ICE, DHS, and CBP.
The attorney networking event was put on by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, an organization for attorneys working in the immigration field. Many of the attendees at this AILA event are immigration defense attorneys providing vital legal assistance to people facing removal or seeking asylum. This is important and necessary work, and we appreciate their dedication to assisting folks in our community.